Friday, October 14, 2011

EDLD 5370 Week 3 Reflection over 5326

Domain 1 Competency 002 EDLD 5326
Log 1 6hrs
In 5326, we were charged with developing a plan for a family-school-community partnership(s) to increase student achievement. During this activity, I learned that one of my school’s goals is to actively involve parents, and community to benefit the education of students and to provide opportunities for parents and the community to actively participate in the educational process. One strategy toward this goal states that AISD will strive to ensure that the community is informed and notified of campus information and the community, including internal and external participants, is kept informed by a number of outlets. I didn’t understand or realize that this goal was in our District Improvement Plan (DIP) to satisfy a requirement of NCLB until after I took this course. Previously, I thought that the superintendent was trying add things to our DIP that the school board wanted, but now I know that it’s more important than that. I can now visualize how this collaboration among school/community/family fits into building a strong network of stakeholders who collectively benefit the school.
When I consider the surrounding schools that are known to have great assessment scores and extracurricular programs, I see the strong community bonds. To keep our community informed, my school maintains Facebook and Twitter accounts and a school website. In addition, I assist the superintendent in publishing a newsletter every 6 weeks that is distributed around town and published on the school website. Also, a staff newsletter is circulated monthly with information about the latest school board meeting. Many student accomplishments are published in the local newspaper and on the school website. Our counselor created her own counseling Facebook page to keep parents informed of scholarship opportunities. We've developed a VIP program for parents to come to the school and volunteer to help students and teachers.
As a learner, I feel as though I understand the relationship between great schools and their stakeholders better after completing this course and these assignments. My approach and strategies toward achieving this understanding came from considering the circumstances of my own school and our fall from the previous status of having many parent volunteers and business supporters. I want to return to the days in which the school was held to a higher standard than it is now. I know that the collective vision of a community can produce a top notch school that provides many more opportunities for its students. Communities that partner with their schools benefit by having successful students who can be productive citizens both during and after their public school careers.
My future learning will include resources that will outline what other schools in our position have done to gain more community partnerships and support. I plan to continue to collaborate with teachers to learn their ideas on how to make their classrooms more successful in regards to parent volunteers and community support. The questions I continue to have concerning community involvement are: How do we have community/business involvement in such a depressed town when there are no businesses to BE involved? How do we educate parents who didn’t finish school themselves on how important it is to help their children at home? How do we get parents whose only involvement with the school is negative to volunteer their time?

Domain 1 Competency 002 EDLD 5326
Log 2 6hrs
A second activity for 5326 was to develop a presentation to be given to key stakeholders in my school that emphasized the importance of parental-community involvement to student achievement. I addressed the District SBDM on January 11, 2011 with a presentation indicating all the activities we are doing at the school to keep the community involved and informed about the events. I reviewed the goal in our District Improvement Plan (DIP) that describes the school's efforts to involve community. I explained to them that strategy 1 states that AISD will strive to ensure that the community is informed and notified of campus information. The community, including internal and external participants, is kept informed by a number of outlets. I speak before the site based committee often since I’ve been a member of it for about 15 years. There wasn’t necessarily any new learning that occurred with this activity because it was a routine occurrence for me. There was no new or old learning that took place.
I relied on previously used strategies to complete this assignment by simply preparing my information and presenting it in an easy to understand format. My performance in completing the assignment was at least acceptable because some parents asked questions about my presentation and expressed positive feedback. My collaboration with a colleague before the presentation helped me in preparing a handout for the parents with the school website, Facebook and Twitter information printed for their use.
As a learner, I like hearing how the stakeholders view the school and how they feel we could do a better job of including them. I plan to research in the future how other schools involve their communities and businesses. I also continue to collaborate with my faculty and with my Lamar cohort members to see what topics some of my research should include and what programs they have implemented in their schools. Some of my questions include: What types of successful programs do other schools have to include community? What are the TEA regulations of having parent volunteers on the school campuses? How do other schools set up work/study programs for students not college-bound?

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